Words by Lorenzo Sutto Lewis
Edited by Abigail C. Luther

On the plane, headed straight to Venice. Its late, Im tired and my book isn’t putting me to sleep like I wanted it to. I stretch my legs looking for a open space in the no mans land that is a budget airline cabin and try to get as comfortable as I can, but its an impossible mission and even as I get back to my book, The Savage Detectives, trying to make sense of what Im reading, the words arent registering. My contact lenses feel like paper, stuck between my eye lids like a constant reminder of the sleepless nights Ive had for the last few months in Paris.

I sit back, try to relax and concentrate on happy thoughts about extra leg-room and better music when all of a sudden I see the food and beverages trail gaily approaching my seat.

Une bière sil vous plaît,” I say trying to stuff my French Italian accent as much as I can like its oversized baggage, as if a better French could get me a better beer but as Im smiling, waiting for the reply I get hit by a blunt, rude, string of words that I dont really understand.

Im looking at the unintentionally annoying face of the stewardess with her plastic Jackie O hair dos and stark red lipstick like Im not understanding her language, like shes speaking out of a pipe in the desert and Im thirty rows back from where I should be… like shes not speaking French so I ask her to repeat what she said. We dont serve beers on this flight Im afraid she replies, in perfect English. This news strikes me to my core, generating a black hole of sadness and despair that makes my skin crawl but as the words are being registered by the DEFCON 4 part of my brain I look straight into her eyes, hold my thumb up and with a smile whisper Thank you.”

Im going to Venice for the Studio XYZ by Residenza 725s Biennale party and to see my friends that I havent seen in a while. Residenza 725 is a fashion e-commerce, but after the recent rebranding, to my eyes, it seems to lean more towards a kind of Mecenate that puts capitalism at the service of culture. 

As far as art goes, I already know I wont be seeing much of it. Due to the intensity of my schedule and knowing fully well that Ill be too tired or hungover to go on a walk around Venice looking for conceptual inspirations.

Its hard to feel keen on new cultural experiences when your stomach aches, youve run out of Advil 400 and your phone is at 10%. Still, it feels good to daydream about it sometimes, and believe that if I really wanted to, you could just get a tote bag from IUAV, put some baggy jeans on and look cool and annoyed while walking through padiglione after padiglione, in Arsenale or Giardini, pretending to know about whatever youre seeing, looking like I belong to the rest of the intellectual crowd.

Wanna go to an aperitif? Yes.

Wanna go to see my friend’s exhibition at Spazio Punch? Yes.

Wanna start studying something you find remotely interesting but you would have never studied before when you lived in Milan, Rome or Paris? Yes.

I like to blend into things and scenes like that, though, because the reality of it all is that I still dont know to who or what I belong to and Id rather do that instead of settling down for something that doesnt satisfy me 100%. At least until the next city, at least until the next thing.

Thats what I like about Venice, you can blend into it, mimetize with the others and even completely disappear if you really wanted to. Its like being in a maze sometimes, but a type of maze that you can just get out of if everything feels too heavy, or because the buildings are so small I could just go and climb of top of them, looking for the closest way home, because theres always one. Its like having the rush of jumping out of the window but realising that if you really wanted to save yourself, you could just open a parachute an comfortably glide over the palazzi, palazzetti, chiese and piazze, and land in a bacaro, looking for 99 ways to digest whatever you did last night; keeping in touch with your feelings while keeping the seagulls at bay… That could be a nice t-shirt, Tito.

So yes, thats where I am now, back at it again, with yet another stomach-ache and a not-so-clear memory of how the party Im intended to write about has fully developed, sitting by the canal, touching grass in Zattere but Im going to try and recollect whatever happened that day, to give a perspective, to put on a piece paper facts, actions, people, places, faces, words and perfumes to get away from or to get closer to, when the music will be over, when the day will be done, when this will make sense.

Venice, outside of Venezia Santa Lucia Station, 12:00 am ca

Rino Gaetano – Sfiorivano le Viole

We met A sitting on a luggage full of Studio XYZ magazines outside of the Venezia Santa Lucia station. He was looking at his phone, wearing a full Diesel sportswear look, while flock of tourists were enjoying their first sight of Venice from the stairs of the station and seagulls where flying around in a weirdly clear blue sky. We had to take the magazine from point A, the station, to point B, Palazzetto Pisani.

As we were walking around, trying to help A with his luggage (which had lost a wheel right over the first bridge) we spoke about our mutual friends in Milan, how is so and so, did you know about this and that, and so on and so forth. He told me about the dinner that Residenza 725 had hosted for the design week, attended by him, N, and AT, a week earlier, in a pool designed by Pier Luigi Nervi. And so, he recounted everything that happened at the social center where they ended the evening.

The city itself looked splendid. Caressed by rays of sunshine here and there, guiding us to the right direction with no particular rush, presenting herself in all her old world beauty and elegance through endless canals ruled by fashionistas gondolieris sporting Oakley sunglasses and Balenciaga shoes, looking effortlessly cool in their quests, bringing Russian moms drinking cheap champagne around, checking out the blonde American tourists taking selfies and eventually, smiling.

We got there after 10 minutes, stopping to listen to a song by Placebo hiding behind a run-down palace, where we knew tourists wouldnt dare to go.

On the first floor I immediately spot AT in the distance, looking glorious beneath the Venetian sun. With his blonde hair and tattoos, like a millennial Kurt Cobain, and beside him, N, smiling and cheering as we arrived into the large salon of the Piano Nobile. Overlooking the Canal Grande, it felt as if we were in some kind of Talented Mr. Ripley rip off, but with more tattoos and definitely more K.

Venice, Guglie, Fems house 17:00 am ca

Lana del Rey – Kintsugi

Im late, fuck Im so late and if I lose my boat to the dinner then all of this doesnt make any sense… this trip, these clothes that the client gave me, my reputation, my life, what am I doing chasing clout at 28… what am I doing still coming to events, who am I, where am I…?

This and some other nonsensical thoughts were crashing inside my head, making my confidence and joy fall down like drywall under a summer sun, while I was franticly trying to get ready in time because, yes, I was very late and yes, if Id lost the boat Id be fucked.

Blazer on, glitter pants on, belt, shirt and sunglasses on, I packed a strategic IUAV tote bag with everything I though I would need for the rest of the night: three packs of Davidoff Gold, portable charger, a scarf, an umbrella (you never know my mother would say ) a shirt that the client gave me but that I didnt want to wear and chewing gum. As I gain my way to the front door, finally ready to leave the house, I looked myself into the mirror, checked if everything was in order and dived back into the city.

Marghera, Haus 07:30 pm ca

Air – All I Need

A knife shaped pool in the middle of the patio opens up the space in two, while a best of of trip-hop playlists circulates the room. Air, Portishead and Massive Attack blend into the crowd of beautiful people dressed in black, drinking free champagne, smoking, occasionally talking and looking at some kind of performative fire drill. In the pool, men dressed of course in black are pouring gas and fire Into a huge branch of wood stacked between the water and the floor of the patio.

Everything looks uselessly elegant I think between me, myself and I as one single thought arise through my sudden sense of critic towards capitalism.

I need to get drunk, I need to smoke, I need to eat those little excuses of a dish they called appetisers that are offered me by flocks of good looking waiters and waitresses. And so I did.

Marghera, Haus 09:30 pm ca

Guided by Voices – How Loft I Am?

Were sitting by a huge candle lit table, all around us another flow of beautiful people, this time sat down, looking happy, enjoying the menus, the views of the room and the mingling of their different expensive fragrances, name dropping acquaintances, locations, writers and movies Im sure they havent seen.

Meanwhile, me and N and F are not eating much, and all together we called Marie Denise while asking waiters to not bring us any water, just alcohol. Five times they came, looking eager to serve us delicious, refreshing and probably expensive water, and five times we said no. F told me that at the end we were not even saying no, just nodding at the passing of that transparent stuff, looking for white or red wine, or whatever else, just not water. We left after the first course, got up and got a taxi to Venice. 

Venice, on a boat somewhere in Canal Grande 10:30 pm ca

The Smiths – Back to The Old House

F is shooting N in his Calvin Klein underpants, I dont know why but I think at least one of them knows and thats all that matters. Im not the photographer and I dont want to be and Im feeling euphoric looking outside the window,  letting my gaze be guided by the waves and night lights of the Venice skylight, eyes slightly wet and tired but still vigilant, scanning every inch of my feelings between the windows and doors of the palazzi and palazzetti surrounding us. I feel a tidal wave of good stuff coming slowly towards us and that matters, that matters a lot right now, sailing through this made up city, looking like Ive just won the VMA, smiling at the invisible ghost of my past asking me direction.

“Im not from here,” I say.

”Me neither,” he replies.

Venice, Palazzina Grassi, 11:30 pm ca

The Charlatans – The Only One I Know

We got in by forcing the gate and the security, after all it is N party and we couldnt take no for an answer. At the bar we got into a fight with some asshole trying to make his day better by knocking us down. I tied my Golden Goose belt between my knuckles and told him to leave us alone, while security was surrounding us, screaming and pushing like we were the cause of the problem. The guy looked at me, looked down and exited the scene quietly.

We danced and drank the whole night away, partaking in conversations where we couldnt understand the subject of, chain-smoking cigarettes that tasted like steel and cement, moving around in a sea of artists, gallerists, rappers, and lunatics, looking great as the DJs gave us their best, keeping our thoughts at bay with bass and kicks, while the usual clientele of the Palazzina looked at us in shock and horror, sitting down the circular table like that restaurant scene in Goodfellas.

“Where are you from, guys?” a stranger asked me. 

Rome, but I live in Paris,” I replied.

“Ive been to Paris,” he said.

Me too,” I said and got away.

Venice, Palazzina Grassi, 01:30 am ca

Regis – Baptism

I have no recollection of the DJ sets of any of the artists that have played. I know they were good, I know people looked good in their Instagram stories and pictures, dancing and screaming by the console, I know people are obsessed with Ecco2K, and he seemed like a nice guy from what I remember, but I have no idea of what happened. Somebody told me that they stayed in line for the party for hours, others that they had to fight their way in. I remember F taking pictures, endless trips to the bar, the bathroom and then the smoking area, broken glasses, broken conversations and dancing a little bit, between the corner of the bar and the console.

Venice, somewhere near Guglie 05:00 am ca

Bill Evans – Piece Peace

I ended up walking alone by Venice, looking for ways to feel warmer in my GG blazer and glitter trousers, stumbling around canal after canal, chain-smoking, looking at the moon or the water, trying to find my way home without looking at google maps, with random philosophical thoughts swimming in the back of my head.

This city will be gone in a few years- we know that and they know that, and what will it remain of it? Is there a story that we still havent heard about, one that hasnt already been told?

Maybe a tale of two lovers lost at sea, maybe some kind of primordial battle between good and evil, waiting to be told by the experienced lips of an older woman, in a piano nobile or a bacaro, looking for our attention as we, the young musicians, creatives, fashion whatever we storm this capital of beauty looking for doors to open and lines to follow through, until the trip is over, until its time to go home, until next time.

And Venice will always be here, at least until were still young, with the same untold story for us to discover, for us who have zero time to sit down and relax, for us who are constantly looking at the afters rather than then the nows, for us endlessly looking but never finding whatever reason makes our heart crush and burn, in the middle of our lives, in locked out club toilets, in our rooms, in departure lounges and most of all, in ourselves.